Theophile Gautier Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 43 quotes)
The famous courtesan Clarimonde died recently, as the result of an orgy which lasted eight days and eight nights. It was something infernally magnificent. They revived the abominations of the feasts of Belshazzar and Cleopatra. Great God! what an age this is in which we live! The guests were served by swarthy slaves speaking an unknown tongue, who to my mind had every appearance of veritable demons; the livery of the meanest among them might have served as a gala-costume for an emperor. There have always been current some very strange stories concerning this Clarimonde, and all her lovers have come to a miserable or a violent end. It has been said that she was a ghoul, a female vampire; but I believe that she was Beelzebub in person.
Whatever may have been said of the satiety of pleasure and of the disgust which usually follows passion, any man who has anything of a heart and who is not wretchedly and hopelessly blas feels his love increased by his happiness, and very often the best way to retain a lover ready to leave is to give one's self up to him without reserve.
(Decadent style) is ingenious, complicated, learned, full of shades of meaning and research, always pushing further the limits of language... forcing itself to express in thought that which is most ineffable, and in form the vaguest and most fleeting contours; listening that it may translate them to the subtle confidences of the neuropath, to the avowals of aging and depraved passion, and to the singular hallucinations of the fixed idea verging on madness... In opposition to the classic style, it admits of shading, and these shadows teem and swarm with the larvae of superstitions, the haggard phantoms of insomnia, nocturnal terrors, remorse which starts and turns back at the slightest noise, monstrous dreams stayed only by impotence, obscure phantasies at which daylight would stand amazed, and all that the soul conceals of the dark, the unformed, and the vaguely horrible, in its deepest and furthest recesses.
I have often been charged with falsehood and hypocrisy, yet there lives not the man who would more gladly than I speak truthfully and lay bare his heart; but as I have not one idea, one feeling in common with the people who surround me, as the very first word I should speak truthfully would cause a general hue and cry, I have preferred to keep silent, or, if I do speak, to utter only stupid commonplaces which everyone has agreed to believe in.
[The critic] serves up his erudition in strong doses; he pours out all the knowledge he got up the day before in some library or other, and treats in heathenish fashion people at whose feet he ought to sit, and the most ignorant of whom could give points to much wiser men than he. Authors bear this sort of thing with a magnanimity and a patience that are really incomprehensible. For, after all, who are those critics, who with their trenchant tone, their dicta, might be supposed sons of the gods? They are simply fellows who were at college with us, and who have turned their studies to less account, since they have not produced anything, and can do no more than soil and spoil the works of others, like true stymphalid vampires.
Once [a cat] has given its love, what absolute confidence, what fidelity of affection! It will make itself the companion of your hours of work, of loneliness, or of sadness. It will lie the whole evening on your knee, purring and happy in your society, and leaving the company of creatures of its own society to be with you.
This apparent hurly-burly and disorder turn out, after all, to reproduce real life with its fantastic ways more accurately than the most carefully studied out drama of manners. Every man is in himself all humanity, and if he writes what occurs to him he succeeds better than if he copies, with the help of a magnifying glass, objects placed outside of him.
To be beautiful, handsome, means that you possess a power which makes all smile upon and welcome you; that everybody is impressed in your favor and inclined to be of your opinion; that you have only to pass through a street or to show yourself at a balcony to make friends and to win mistresses from among those who look upon you. What a splendid, what a magnificent gift is that which spares you the need to be amiable in order to be loved, which relieves you of the need of being clever and ready to serve, which you must be if ugly, and enables you to dispense with the innumerable moral qualities which you must possess in order to make up for the lack of personal beauty.
One evening he was in his room, his brow pressing hard against the pane, looking, without seeing them, at the chestnut trees in the park, which had lost much of their russet-coloured foliage. A heavy mist obscured the distance, and the night was falling grey rather than black, stepping cautiously with its velvet feet upon the tops of the trees. A great swan plunged and replunged amorously its neck and shoulders into the smoking water of the river, and its whiteness made it show in the darkness like a great star of snow. It was the single living being that somewhat enlivened the lonely landscape.
I had never been into society; for me the world was the enclosure of the college and the seminary. I had a vague knowledge that there was a something called woman, but I never dwelt upon the subject; I was absolutely innocent. I saw my infirm old mother only twice a year; that was the extent of my connection with the outside world.